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PHEASANT HUNTING NEWS PACKET                                                              Oct. 9, 2013
All news releases are available in the DNR’s website newsroom at www.mndnr.gov/news.
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Madelia to host 2013 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener
Minnesota hunters fuel local economies with $725M in spending
DNR’s Madelia wildlife research station helps shape habitat, management
DNR farmland wildlife research staff – 2013 Madelia, Minn.   

Gear up for pheasant hunting
DNR wildlife supervisor answers questions about Madelia area


Madelia to host 2013 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener

Pheasants will be the focus this weekend in the south-central Minnesota city of Madelia, as the community hosts the third annual 2013 Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener, on Friday, Oct. 11 and Saturday, Oct. 12. 

Friday is filled with activities for the public. These include:

  • 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Shotgun shooting events including sporting clays, trap and duck flurry.
  • 4 p.m. - Dedication of a veteran’s memorial.
  • 4:30 p.m. - “Best of the best shooting tournament” featuring the world’s top four shotgun exhibition shooters.
  • 6 p.m. - Governor’s reception and banquet.
  • 9 p.m. - Free concert by Martin Zellar and the Hardways.

On Saturday, a community breakfast starting at 6:30 a.m. at the VFW/American Legion, and public land dedication at noon, will bookend a morning of pheasant hunting. A special hunt with Wounded Warriors will take place on land restored by the city of Madelia for accessible hunting.

“We are proud to host this event and look forward to showcasing Madelia as the ‘Pheasant Capital of Minnesota,’” said Dan Madsen, Madelia city administrator.

He pointed out there are 8,600 acres of public hunting land within 20 miles of Madelia. Pheasant research for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is headquartered in the community. Madelia also hosts the state’s longest running annual pheasant celebration.

The Madelia event is the third annual Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener, initiated by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2011. Previous host communities were Montevideo and Marshall. The event highlights the many hunting, recreational, travel and local opportunities that host communities have to offer visitors.

The event is being coordinated by city of Madelia, Madelia Chamber of Commerce, Explore Minnesota Tourism and the DNR. 

Madelia has a population of 2,319. It is located less than 20 minutes west of Mankato and just 90 minutes southwest of Minneapolis.

Statewide, more than 80,000 hunters are expected to hunt pheasants this year. Collectively, more than a half-million residents and nonresidents hunt in Minnesota each year, contributing an estimated $725 million to the state’s economy.

More information can be found at www.mnpheasant.com



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            Oct. 9, 2013

Minnesota hunters fuel local economies with $725M in spending

When thousands of pheasant hunters wade into cattails and grasslands for the Minnesota pheasant opener that begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, they will be contributing to the economic health of the state’s economy.
More than a half-million Minnesotans and nonresidents hunt in Minnesota each year. Collectively they spend an estimated $725 million per year, according to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

“Minnesota ranks ninth in the nation for resident hunter numbers,” said C.B. Bylander, outreach chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Fish and Wildlife Division. “This strong tradition of hunting has long helped fuel local economies throughout the farmland and forested portions of the state.”   

According the 2011 national survey direct expenditures by hunters in Minnesota include:

  • $400 million on equipment such as guns, ammunition and special clothes.
  • $235 million on trip related expenses such as food, lodging and transportation.
  • $90 million on other expenses such as land leasing, hunting land ownership, magazines, etc.

Bylander said the average amount spent per hunter in 2011 was $1,412, up from $889 in 2006 when the previous survey was taken. Direct retail sales related to upland bird hunting totaled about $121 million. When combined with angling, Minnesota hunters and anglers support nearly 48,000 Minnesota jobs.

Bylander said about 84,000 people hunted pheasants in Minnesota last year.



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                          Oct. 9, 2013

DNR’s Madelia wildlife research station helps shape habitat, management   

For decades, the Madelia wildlife research station has armed wildlife professionals with the information they need to best manage pheasants, deer and other species, especially those in the farmland portion of the state.

One of three Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) research stations, the Madelia facility is officially known as the Farmland Wildlife Populations and Research Center. The five researchers at this station focus largely on issues that relate to the two-thirds of the state that is farm country. The researchers also serve the broader interests of Minnesotans and wildlife professionals around the nation by providing technical assistance and developing techniques to monitor wildlife populations and manage critical wildlife habitat. 

“Our focus is improving wildlife management and the policy that affects wildlife,” said Marrett Grund, research group leader. “Each research project must have a direct impact on wildlife or wildlife habitat, or we don’t do it.”

One of the team’s most publicized annual projects is the August roadside wildlife counts. Data from this survey are used to predict pheasant numbers each year and develop a pheasant hunting prospect map.

Grund said that although pheasants get most of the publicity from the annual counts, much more is gathered than pheasant information. Data from the roadside counts also give reliable population trend information for gray partridge, cottontail rabbit, white-tailed jackrabbit, mourning dove and white-tailed deer as well as status information for fox, sandhill crane, skunk and squirrel.

A primary role of the Madelia team is to monitor the status of deer populations throughout Minnesota and provide advice to wildlife managers about the upcoming year’s hunting regulations. This is done through several field surveys and mathematically analyzing deer harvest and reproductive data. These results provide direction for establishing antlerless permit numbers for hunters throughout Minnesota.

“Deer impact all Minnesotans, whether they hunt or not,” Grund said. “They are popular with hunters and wildlife viewers but also cause serious economic issues for farmers, foresters and public safety issues for drivers. They are the most sought after game species in Minnesota – so proper management is critical.”

While research topics may be varied, the quality of the research is not. “The number one goal of our research is to have high quality, publishable data,” Grund said.

He explained that once research is completed, the information is submitted to a peer review process to verify the quality of the data. Once passing review, the study is published in professional journals.

“We are committed to help our DNR staff and the public better understand our wildlife populations and the habitats they live in,” Grund said.

Examples of research published in scientific journals by Madelia office staff recently include:

  • Association of ring-necked pheasant, gray partridge, and meadowlark abundance to Conservation Reserve Program grasslands.
  • Bullet fragmentation and lead deposition in white-tailed deer.
  • Winter survival of wild turkey hens in central Minnesota.
  • Development and evaluation of an accounting model for estimating deer population sizes.
  • Hunter perceptions and acceptance of alternative deer management regulations.
  • Survival analysis and computer simulations of lethal and contraceptive management strategies for urban deer.   

“The essence of our research is to help those in management and policy positions make informed decisions,” said Grund. “Ultimately, that means increasing conservation efficiency and helping to advance public policy.”

Grund said pheasant habitat and population research conducted and coordinated by Dr. Al Berner decades ago is an example of how a Minnesota-based research project can have national implications. Berner’s research and that of his collaborators concluded that the federal government’s annual farmland set aside programs that followed the end of the Soil Bank conservation era in 1964 were not providing pheasant population benefits. In fact, the opposite was true. This was happening because pheasants would nest in the cover crop that farmers were required to plant and then those nests would be destroyed when landowners were required to destroy the cover crop.  

This research – evaluating the wildlife implications of annual set aside programs - became a powerful tool for Pheasants Forever and other conservation interests. They used it to push the U.S. Congress to enact longer U.S. Department of Agriculture set aside enrollments. That happened. The Conservation Reserve Program was created in 1985 and with it came 10- and 15-year set aside enrollments. 

The Farmland Wildlife Populations and Research Center is located southwest of Madelia. Those interested in visiting should take State Highway 60 to County Road 109, go one-half mile south and watch for signs. The facility is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     Oct. 9, 2013

DNR farmland wildlife research staff – 2013 Madelia, Minn.

Marrett Grund has been the group leader for the farmland wildlife populations and research group since 2010. He is a native of New Ulm and worked at the office as an intern while attending Mankato State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in ecology. Marrett received his master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences at the University of Missouri and his Ph.D. while working at the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory at Southern Illinois University. He supervised the deer research and management program for the Pennsylvania Game Commission before becoming the farmland deer project leader at the office in 2004. Marrett’s research interests encompass population ecology and ungulate ecology and management. Most of his research is applied and addresses specific management needs or public policy questions for state wildlife agencies. He is a lifelong hunter and enjoys fishing and tubing on his boat. He plays team sports and is a diehard Vikings and Timberwolves fan.

Gino D’Angelo is the deer project leader with the farmland populations and research group. His research interests include population ecology and management, the study of deer anatomy and senses, and mitigation of wildlife damage. Before coming to the DNR, he worked as a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agency where he focused on reducing damage caused by overabundant white-tailed deer. Gino earned his bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State. He earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. at University of Georgia where he studied deer movements relative to hunting pressure and he evaluated techniques to reduce deer-vehicle collisions. He also worked as a wildlife technician for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, and at the Penn State Captive Deer Research Center. Gino grew up hunting and fishing in the mountains and valleys of northeastern Pennsylvania. He is an avid hunter and angler, and his favorite activities include bow hunting, turkey hunting, hunting rabbits with beagles, and fishing with his family.   

Nicole Davros began her position as the upland game project leader for the farmland wildlife populations and research group in 2012. She grew up in a south suburb of Chicago, but has spent most of her adult life living and conducting wildlife research in other places, including southwestern Minnesota, east-central and southern Illinois, New Hampshire, and the Republic of Panama. Nicole received her bachelor’s degree in ecology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her master’s degree in animal ecology from Iowa State University. She is finishing her Ph.D. this fall through the University of Illinois. She spent 14 years working on various avian ecology and conservation projects before starting with DNR, where her research now focuses on ring-necked pheasant and other grassland bird habitat and management issues. In her free time, she enjoys spending time hiking and exploring new parts of Minnesota with her husband and dog. Despite her newfound happiness in being a resident of Minnesota, she remains a Chicago Bears and White Sox fan.

Rachel Curtis joined the farmland wildlife research group as a research biologist in April. She is originally from Utah where she earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Southern Utah University, and her master’s degree in Wildlife Biology from Utah State University. She has worked throughout the western U.S. with Greater sage-grouse, a variety of hawk and owl species, and prairie dogs. Her research interests are primarily in upland and small game, and she’s excited for the opportunity to work with pheasants in Minnesota. She is determined to explore all of the state parks, and is happy to finally live in a state with both a hockey and a baseball team.

Brian S. Haroldson is a wildlife research biologist with the farmland wildlife populations and research group. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Cloud State University and a master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His research interests include deer population dynamics and population estimation techniques.

Tonya Klinkner is an office administrative assistant and manages many day-to-day aspects at the office.  She has a degree in accounting which serves her well in this position, because she spends a substantial amount of time managing the office budget accounts. When not at the office she enjoys camping and fishing. She lives near Madelia with her family and is active in the local community.



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         Oct. 9, 2013

Gear up for pheasant hunting

By Scott Roemhildt, DNR information officer

Pheasant hunting doesn’t require a lot of specialized or expensive equipment, but there are some basic items that will make your time in the field more enjoyable and productive.

License/Hunting Regulations Handbook. The trail to good hunting starts with a license. You can get handbooks and licenses at any of the more than 1,500 DNR electronic license vendors or online at www.mndnr.gov. (http://licenses.dnr.state.mn.us/). Hunting licenses are also available by mobile application or by dialing 888-665-4236.

Maps. Scouting an area will increase your odds of finding pheasants and good maps will help your efforts. Go to www.mndnr.gov (www.mndnr.gov/wmas/index.html) for free online, interactive maps that identify wildlife management areas and Walk-In Access areas. Combined, these programs provide 1.3 million acres of public hunting on 1,550 parcels. A local plat book may also come in handy to identify specific parcels of land.

Shotgun and shells. The best shotgun is one that you have used and are comfortable with.  The style or gauge of the shotgun is not nearly as important as your proficiency with it. Since pheasants are fairly tough birds, you will want to choose a heavier load such as 4 or 5 shot and limit your shooting distances to less than 50 yards. This will result in fewer wounded birds.  Nontoxic shot is required on federal land, but many hunters prefer to use it anytime they’re in the field.

Blaze orange. Minnesota pheasant hunters are required to wear at least one visible article of clothing above the waist that is blaze orange. This could be a hat, jacket or hunting vest. The more blaze orange you wear, the more visible you will be to other hunters.

Good boots. Pheasant hunting involves lots of walking on uneven terrain. Good quality, above-the-ankle boots or shoes will provide the comfort and support you need for a day in the field.  Since crossing creeks and marshy areas is common, waterproof boots are preferred by many hunters.

Layered clothing. Cool fall mornings often turn into sunny, warm afternoons. Layered clothing will prepare you for a variety of weather conditions. Long sleeves and gloves will help keep you from getting scratched up when moving through tall grass, cattails or woody cover. Hunting chaps or brush pants will protect your legs and keep you dry on mornings when the grass is wet.

Eye and ear protection. Anytime you use a firearm, you should protect your eyes and ears.  A pair of sunglasses and foam ear plugs will provide basic protection. More expensive options included coated, colored, high impact lenses and digital hearing aids that enhance some sounds while protecting ears from loud noises. 

A good dog. A dog is not required to hunt pheasants, but a good hunting dog will increase the opportunities you have to harvest birds and provide you with a companion in the field.  A hunting dog is a year-round commitment. Be sure you are willing to invest significant time and energy before purchasing a dog.

Hydration. Be sure to carry at least two bottles of water in the field and have jugs of water at your vehicle. Water your dog and yourself, often. Bring snacks to keep your energy level up and consider canine energy bars for your dog.

The right equipment and a little preparation will greatly enhance your hunting experience. Have fun, be safe and good luck hunting!



DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   Oct. 9, 2013

DNR wildlife supervisor answers questions about Madelia area

For 25 years, Randy Markl has managed Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife activities in the Madelia area. A native of Pipestone, Markl oversees wildlife operations in Watonwan, Cottonwood, Jackson and Martin counties.  
Q: What does the Madelia area offer hunters?
A: There’s a lot of good hunting in southern Minnesota. Those who come here can find 8,600 acres of public land within 20 miles of Madelia. You’re not far away from large Swan Lake, Mulligan Slough and Wood Lake, which are large wildlife management areas. All three are solid destinations for a hunting a variety of species, including pheasants. We also have many smaller wildlife management areas and lands open to public hunting through conservation easements that have been funded, all or in part, by the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program. Turkey hunters can find very good hunting in spring and fall along both forks of the Watonwan River. Hunters should check out Walk-In Access opportunities as well. 

Q: Do you need a big group to hunt the parcels in your area? 
A:  No. A lot of the wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas in this part of the state are small to mid-sized. That means they are well-suited to an individual hunter or two to three people and a few dogs.    

Q:  What’s your take on pheasant hunting prospects?
A:  If a hunter is willing to put in the time, he or she will find birds. The DNR’s August roadside counts indicated a statewide 29 percent decrease from 2012. This decline – a reflection of habitat abundance and unfavorable winter weather - puts us at 64 percent below the 10-year average and 72 percent below the long-term average. Still, I have seen a lot of late hatches this year. These birds were likely hatched in late July or early August. That means they may not have been counted during the August survey and pheasant numbers may be slightly higher than expected. It also means that the roosters won’t be fully colored until later in the pheasant season, thereby providing additional opportunity for late season hunters.

Q:  If a person can’t hunt the opener is there another good time to hunt? 
A:  Any time during the season is a good time to hunt. Actually, opening weekend can be tough if the weather is too warm for the dogs or there is still an abundance of standing corn for roosters to escape in. Personally, I think late October and early November are good times.  It’s usually a little cooler for the dogs but still comfortable for the hunter.

Q:  Are there any special permits or laws we need to be aware of to hunt the area?
A:  There is nothing specific to the Madelia area. But hunters, if they are required to have them, must have a small game license and pheasant stamp. Nontoxic shot is required when hunting on federal land such as waterfowl production areas.  We have a little more than 1,100 acres of federal land within 20 miles of Madelia. Otherwise, there’s nothing else special required in the area.

Q:  Where can we get more information on hunting in the area?
A:  The Recreational Compass on the DNR web site, www.mndnr.gov, (www.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/compass.html ) provides maps and information about wildlife management areas (WMA). The Madelia Chamber does a good job of providing information.  Area wildlife offices can also answer questions about WMAs. The Windom Area Wildlife office can be reached at 507-831-2900 during regular business hours.

Q:  What do you plan to do the weekend of pheasant opener?
A:  I’ll be at the Governor’s Pheasant Opener part of the weekend, but plan to get out and do some pheasant hunting. I have family and friends coming down to the house to hunt. We’ll probably also do a little duck hunting. It’s a family hunting weekend.

This email was sent to editor@woodsnews.com on behalf of: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources · 500 Lafayette Road · Saint Paul, MN 55155 · 1-888-MINNDNR  

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